President's Corner: The Spring is Not Just About Showers and Flowers

Crystal Hawkins Syska | April 14, 2021

Crystal Hawkins Syska, HGAR President 2021

April showers bring May flowers is a nursery rhyme many of us may know from our youth. But the month of April means even more than that for those of us in the real estate industry. For one, it means being in the throes of the spring market. This season is an intense one! Highest and best within days, cash offers, the removal of contingencies, it is a madhouse. I know many of us are fatigued with the demands of the real estate climate right now.

Secondly, this is Fair Housing Month. Fair Housing began as a celebration of the passing of the Fair Housing Act which was signed on April 11, 1968. As an Association, we have great information and resources being sent to you in our HGAR Daily Updates for you to take advantage of.

There is a cause for concern, however. In a market that is so intense where it is easy to get caught up in the urgency of the deal, so that the quality of our work product starts to suffer. Are our systems fine-tuned to a high enough level that, if our business was scrutinized by an outside source, we would not be found guilty of inconsistency in our treatment of our clients and customers? Please pause and really consider the far-reaching impact and gravity of your personal answer. As professionals, it is time for spring cleaning. Let us clean up our scripts, systems, processes and increase our education. To maintain our licensure, we are held to a higher standard because we are entrusted with the public trust. We cannot take that lightly.

I know that we can get overwhelmed with the amount of information that comes at us in the form of texts, e-mails and mailings. At times it can feel like drinking from a firehose. So, I would like to highlight some places for you to go to or pay attention to for information.

HGAR.COM

On our website on the first page is a large banner with artwork (courtesy of Catherine Faranda) promoting fair housing. Underneath is a clickable button “April is Fair Housing Month”. Click there and take advantage of the information. Our Fair Housing Challenge criteria is also listed. As a reminder by April 30th my hope is that 80% of our producing members will complete two of the following three learning tools: NAR Fair Haven Simulation Training; Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing Video and earn the At Home with Diversity (AHWD) Certification.

HGAR Daily Update

This comes by e-mail. Every other day at the very top of the newsletter will be key facts and events regarding fair housing.

Event: HGAR Fair Housing Summit

On April 29th from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., HGAR will be hosting a Fair Housing Summit via zoom. At that event we will hear from Richard Rothstein, author of the “Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” A panel discussion will be moderated by Dorothy Botsoe, Fair Housing Advocate, Trainer and Broker Owner of Dorothy Jensen Realty. The summit will close with a conversation with Bill Dedman, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and investigative reporter who headed the Newsday expose “Long Island Divided.”

I cannot stress enough the importance of carving out time from our busy schedules of working “in” our business to work “on” our business through education and analyzing how our business is structured and the way in which we practice our craft. I am doing the same for my own team as well. This will help us collectively raise the bar on our profession. It is also a measurement of our integrity when it comes to protecting the rights of the public by continuing to sharpen the saw on our knowledge and skill.

A home is such a foundational element to our very existence. There are laws around homeownership and we can’t take that lightly. I have been humbled by this field as a Realtor and even more so in my role as HGAR President. We have a noble role as licensed real estate professionals. Let us not take it for granted for one moment that what we do for a living puts us at the heart of the American experience. Keep that in your heart and mind as you tiptoe through the tulips this April 2021.

Crystal Hawkins Syska
is the 2021 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc